Illustration Policy | Leonardo

Illustration Policy

A letter from our publisher, MIT Press:

As you may know, authors submitting articles to Leonardo have been responsible in the past for obtaining permissions to reproduce any photographs and/or illustrations within their articles. Up to now, we neither verified nor enforced this policy. However, as we move forward placing Leonardo material online, clearing permissions for electronic use will now be mandatory. While fair use cases could be argued under our old "Guidelines for Use of Visual Materials," the new "New Electronic Theft Act" (recently signed into law) makes electronic distribution of copyrighted material, even on a nonprofit basis, illegal. We therefore need to document all permission for the use of material not copyrighted by you.

To assist you in ensuring a smooth transition, this letter will further clarify our policy and provide some sample forms that you can use in requesting permission. For the purpose of this policy, Illustrations are defined as including any nontextual art, including photographs, artwork and maps. Permission to reproduce text from other sources still requires permission.

  • Illustrations that you have created are copyrighted by you. As your publication agreement covers only the text of an article, you must submit the Image Release form.
  • llustrations of copyrighted material (book, magazine, newspaper covers, advertisements, and video and movie stills) require permission from the original copyright holder.
  • Illustrations created by other people, including friends and colleagues, need permission before they can be reproduced.
  • Illustrations obtained from a stock agency, library, museum or other source usually include a license agreement specifying uses covered. If electronic uses are not specified to be covered, separate permission will be required.
  • If you are submitting a photograph of any illustration, whether such artwork has been created by yourself or others, and you are not the photographer, separate permission from the photographer is required.
  • Anything published in the United States more than 75 years ago is now in the public domain. Although no permission is required, please be sure that proper credit to the original source is given. Note: Although a work of art may be in the public domain, a photograph or slide created by a museum may not be.

Please note, if you are reproducing an illustration from a book or periodical, be sure to request permission from the original source; not necessarily the book or periodical's publisher.

For example, a photograph credited to a member of a newspaper's staff would need permission from the newspaper. However, a photograph credited to the Associated Press appearing in the same paper would need permission from the Associated Press, not the newspaper.

Sending your request to the correct source initially will save you time in obtaining permission.

Currently, our plans are to have Leonardo articles available in PDF format only, with access limited to print subscribers.

Authors remain responsible for any permission fees or costs for obtaining reproducible art.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns:

MIT Press Journals
Subsidiary Rights Department